50,000 feet of climbing at the Mavic Haute Route Rockies is a big ask. With summits as high as 12,000 feet it's a huge, massive, big ask for me. Every stage, every day laboriously pedaling up near vertical mountains, only to get to the top and see another mountain to climb.
This week I sought his advice and it went something like this...
"I'm doing a week-long race in Colorado with a bunch of climbing. I suck at climbing. Got any tips to help me survive?"
"Yea. Don't-eh go. You cannot-eh climb. You no Italian. Good climbers are Italian."
"Too late. I committed - or maybe I should be committed. I already signed up."
"OK. I elp you out."
"Thanks. I'm listening." - and translating.
"#1. Form a gruppetto of similar strength riders, stay-uh together. Don't try to hang with da stronger riders. You blow up, loose uh-massive time.
"Got it. Don't burn all my matches at the start of the climb."
"Match. You old and only have-uh one match, and it won't-uh light at 10,000 feet. No oxygen. Just start-uh slow, finish uh-fast and you be fine."
"OK. No burning matches in Colorado."
"#2. Da best way to improve your uh-climbing is to ride up many hills. That's where you will make da big-gest improvement. Train your uh-weak-nes-ses."
"That might be difficult. I've got many."
"#3. Learn to uh-suffer. Climbing gets easier with uh-practice, but it is uh-never easy."
With these tips in mind I tackle the 14.6 mile 3300-foot climb to Ski Santa Fe - twice.
ELEVATION GAIN: 20,869
MAX ELEVATION: 10,308; MIN 6,056
FAVORITE GEAR: 39 x 29
TRAINING TUNE: HIGHER GROUND, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
DAYS TILL HAUTE ROUTE ROCKIES: 40
Stay tuned for another Mavic Haute Route Rockies training update next week...
Cheers and have a great ride. What's on your bucket list?
John is a former faux pro racer enjoying life as a geriatric cyclist in search of great bucket list rides to keep him in shape and out of trouble - well, at least in shape.
He writes about his Bucket Rides in all their variety and glory for Granfondo.com. See his other pieces here